Michelle Blackburn

Special Counsel



A leading environment and planning lawyer, Michelle advises both public and private sector clients across the full range of environment and planning law with a specific interest in large scale infrastructure developments, energy and resources projects, water law and statutory planning regimes.

Michelle also has a strong regulatory background and has worked for extended periods in-house in state government in legal advisory and legislation preparation roles, including devising legislative reforms to the Victorian Water Act.

Michelle is an experienced advocate and mediator with an expert knowledge of planning appeals and amendments. She has previously served as a non-sessional Member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, allocated to hear matters in its Planning and Environment List.

Michelle is currently on the board of Interchange Gippsland Inc, Lifeline Gippsland Inc and Latrobe Magnesium Ltd.

Key deals

Paper Australia

Acting as environmental advisor for this large scale industrial client, including providing representation at planning panels and advice on projects and regulatory compliance.

Port of Hastings Development Authority

Serving as key advisor on the environmental impact assessment, planning and other approvals for the Port of Hastings Container Expansion Project, including road and rail infrastructure to connect the port to the existing freight network.


Advising on planning issues, including providing representation in planning appeals in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia related to new telecommunications infrastructure.

McDonald’s Australia

Acting on a broad range of planning and land acquisition compensation matters relating to the company’s Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian operations, including representing McDonald’s in successful planning appeals.

Port of Melbourne Corporation

Acting as key adviser on a range of planning and environmental matters, including the Supplementary EES for the Channel Deepening Project and the Webb Dock redevelopment.


Acting on all environmental, planning, animal welfare and other approval and regulatory matters relating to the IPO of Wellard’s cattle export and meat processing business.